Regina Lewis, PhD and VP of Global Insights for InterContinental Hotels Group gave an “End User’s Perspective” at the MRA’s CEO Summit. Here are some notes from her presentation that you might find helpful the next time you try to land that big account.
During a recession, end users are often understaffed but still have to get the work done. Therefore, any assistance a supplier can give that can help is usually greatly appreciated, regardless of how small. In these times, end users are often forced to rely on suppliers more than usual but they will also tend to rely on those they trust the most.
Dr. Lewis identified four stages in developing a client relationship along with some tips at each stage.
The four stages and the tips for each stage were:
Initial Telephone Meeting
- Focus on 1-2 things you do well. Don’t try to convince them that you can do everything. What do you do better than anyone else? Where is the value added?
- Provide a sample of your excellent work (it doesn’t have to be from the same industry).
- Show that you can think strategically.
Meeting the Team
- Presence. Can you make a credible presentation to their internal clients?
- Treat the entire team with respect, not just the team leader.
- More is generally better. Give examples of key deliverables.
- Pleasantly surprise them with some work you have already done for them beforehand.
When the Project is Awarded
- Demonstrate constant project advancement with frequent updates
- Meet deadlines.
- Foreshadowing. Show that you are thinking about how to deliver a blockbuster result.
Remember that “you are there to amke them feel proud.” Also remember that when you are working with your clients, “Everyone wants to feel smart in front of their colleagues.” Make it happen for them.